Friday, May 16, 2014

Day #4- Special Operations, Dojo training, and Pub Crawl!

Day number five was our craziest day by far.  Our day started out at 9:15 when we went to tour the S.O.R (Special Operations Room).  This is basically where all of the big events in London are monitored and controlled from.  We got to meet Sergeant Matt Andrews who explained to us the importance of S.O.R, a little of what they do, what their goals are, and we also got a tour at the end.  The S.O.R is a very important aspect of the police force here in London. When events such as royal birthdays, a big circus, bombings, fires, riots, etc. happen the S.O.R sends officers out to help contain situations and prevent them from going badly or getting worse.  The room that is called the special operations room is basically their command center where they can keep in contact with all of the officers and let them know that someone has their back.  Sergeant Andrews said that their goal was to remain calm, controlled, and professional through any type of situation.  In the S.O.R they can also monitor all of the CCTV cameras around London, and there are over 20,000 of them!  Sergeant Andrews also mentioned how Londoners have gotten used to the idea that they are on camera everywhere they go, and we Americans are still not ok with the idea.  He predicted that within 20 years America will have the CCTV system that London does now.  
After the tour of the S.O.R, we went to do what is called dojo training.  Dojo is the training that London officers have to take two times per year to keep up to date in requirements of the force.  This part of the trip was extremely cool, and fun!  There were two officers that worked with us and showed us how everything works, and they were both very nice and taught us a lot.  We learned the basics of a defensive stance, tactics that would be done in the case of someone trying to attack an officer and how to approach someone when stopping them or questioning them.  We got into groups of two and got to practice using the weapons the officers on the field use, such as CS spray and a baton.  Their CS spray is similar to our pepper spray, but pepper spray is oil based so it sticks on the skin and in the eyes longer where CS spray is crystal based and can be blown off with a light breeze that will deminish the effects after doing the initial stunning of the individual.  
Pretty much directly after the dojo training Nick, Mary, Jessica and I went to the hotel room to get ready for our night out in the Pub Crawl!  The Pub Crawl is basically a night out with a guide that takes a group of people to 5 different clubs in the Soho area of London. When you buy the tickets it includes free admission to all the clubs, a free shot at every club, and discounted drinks at every club.  It was a freaking blast!  We met a ton of awesome people from all over the world.  Places like Brazil, Italy, Australia, Belgium, and even Texas!  After the pub crawl we stayed at the last club for quite a while, and then proceeded to make way back to our hotel.  We ended up getting lost for two hours and making it back at about 4 o'clock the next morning, but it was still so much fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat! 

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